Rockets win WHL awards

The past and present of the Kelowna Rockets were on full display in Calgary Wednesday as the Western Hockey League handed out its regular season hardware.

Graduating goaltender, Jordon Cooke, was honoured as the league's top goaltender while 16-year-old Nick Merkley was named WHL Rookie of the Year.

Cooke had arguably one of the best seasons ever put in by a Rockets netminder.

He led the Rockets in his 20-year-old campaign, posting a 39-7-0-4 record in the regular season before going 9-5 in the WHL playoffs.

Cooke posted a 2.28 goals against average and a .922 save percentage in 51 regular season games.

"It's a tremendous honour and I'd like to thank my team," said Cooke, 20, at the awards ceremony. "Game in and game out they did everything for me. It was so amazing. It was lots of fun and I'm going to cherish the memories."

Cooke, who was also named the Rockets Most Valuable Player, beat out Edmonton Oil Kings netminder Tristan Jarry for the honour.

Merkley was spectacular in his first season in the Western Hockey League.

He scored 25 goals and 33 assists for 58 points in 66 regular season games before leading the Rockets in playoff scoring with four goals and 13 assists in 14 games.

"I'd just like to say thanks to my coach Ryan Huska," said Merkley.

"He helped me a lot. And coming in (the 2013 playoffs) as a 15-year-old and getting in the playoffs, I think that was good for me."

Merkley beat out Russian born Nikita Scherbak of the Saskatoon Blades.

Sam Reinhart of the Kootenay Ice was named Player of the Year.

The future of the Rockets will be on display tomorrow (Thursday) when the league holds its annual Bantam Draft.

After finishing first overall the Rockets will pick at the tail end of each round, however, because of previous deals will have only one selection (21st overall) in the first 72 picks.

The Vancouver Giants own the Rockets second and third round picks.

Barring any draft day deals, the Rockets will have just seven picks over the first 10 rounds.


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